TRAFFIC is still causing a headache for traders in the Edenderry area, more than two weeks after roadworks for the Asda store were completed.
One business, Uptown Framing, has decided to leave Bridge Street and move to premises over the bridge, while other businesses have seen their turnover fall.
John Hoy of John Hoy Butchers said that while trading had settled down “a bit” last week, the traffic lights still needed to be improved, in particular for motorists coming from the town.
He said, “Business dies a death from 3.30 in the afternoon onwards, when the traffic starts to back up over the bridge. Before this, traffic coming out of the town was never a problem, even at rush hour.
“There are two lanes going out of town, one up Bridge Street and the other up Carrickblacker Road, but they don’t run together. Roads Service and the contractor talked about waiting until the end of January to look at the timing of the lights but I think it should be done now.”
Like fellow traders, he said lack of parking spaces was a problem. He said, “Before, even though there was restricted parking, people would have taken a chance and popped in. Customers now have to find parking spaces, which means them getting into a new routine.”
Mark Hunter of Eden Pharmacy said his business was losing out on passing trade, with customers no longer able to park in front of the shop, although he had seen some new passing trade from people walking to Asda. He said, “We have been able to use the Gordon Speers’ car park since November and without that we would have been sunk,” he said.
He said the phasing of the traffic lights also needed to be rectified, especially for traffic going out of town. “When the lights go green for Carrickblacker Road, the lights for the Lurgan Road are red. Why can’t that traffic go on at the same time? It’s not as bad as the traffic bedlam we had for six weeks but it’s not as good as the roundabout.”
Ruth Weir of Joe Weir Autoparts said turnover fell by half when the roadworks were going on, and in the past two weeks had gone up by about a quarter, but was still down. She said, “I’m not sure why it is. Maybe customers went somewhere else and have continued to go somewhere else.
“People don’t know if they can turn in to Watson Street or not. There are no signs for traffic coming from Lurgan and if you are coming out of town the traffic is still slow. The roundabout was better.”
She added that although parking had not been affected, they were still feeling the effects of the new traffic wardens. “People come to get lights fixed or wipers fitted. There is only room for two cars in Watson Street and customers who park on the yellow lines run the risk of getting a ticket,” she said.
John Guy of Uptown Framing said that since roadworks started at the start of September, his turnover was down by around a third, and hadn’t picked up - which was a major factor in his decision to move premises.
He explained, “The traffic situation here with the lights means people are finding it harder to get in and out of Edenderry. My biggest problem is that there used to be a zebra crossing right outside the front door and customers could have parked directly opposite and come across to the shop.
“I had a customer who parked in Goban Street the other day and wanted to go back up the Gilford Road but it’s so hard to make a right turn because of the traffic that she ended up going back into the town and round to get home.”
Trevor McConnell, who owns TR McConnell wallpaper and paints, said the traffic could take a while to settle down, but the two lanes merging into one was a problem. He added, “We have a car park so parking is not a problem for us but I know other businesses are suffering because drivers have nowhere to stop now.”
At the Candy Stop, Maureen Brown said there has always been a bottleneck outside the church but the lights had exacerbated that problem. She said, “It’s also very confusing coming down the Carrickblacker Road at the filter light to turn right.”
A spokesman for DRD Roads Service said, “Roads Service is continuing to monitor the operation of the new traffic signals provided by ASDA, part of their new store development. Minor changes have already been made to improve the efficiency of the junctions.
“This process will continue into the New Year until traffic patterns stabilise following the busy Christmas period. Roads Service will work to maximise traffic flow. However, the road network in the area has a finite capacity and delays are possible, especially at peak times.”
Text us your views to 84555, starting your message with PTTEXT and then a space.